The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Gesture of Reverence
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People in all culture have certain gestures, or actions, which express their love and respect for others, such as bowing, taking off the hat, folding hands and kneeling. In Buddhism, the traditional gesture of reverence to the Triple Gem is to place the palms of both hands together and raise them high in front, usually up to the level of the forehead. In order to express deep veneration, a Buddhist may bow or prostrate before the image of the Buddha, members of the Sangha and the master of the Teaching. When a Buddhist prostrates before an image, he acknowledges the fact that the Buddha has attained the perfect and supreme Enlightenment. Such an act helps the Buddhist to overcome egoistic feelings and he become more ready to listen to the Teaching of the Buddha.
Cirumanbulation is the act of going round an object of veneration for three or more times. The act is practised not only by Buddhist but also by members of some other religions. Buddhist cirumambulate shrines, temples and other religious objects such as stupas or the Bodhi tree. They walk in slow, measured steps in a clockwise direction, keeping their right side towards the object of veneration. This is one way Buddhist focus their attention on the object and is gesture of respect.